Following Donald Trump’s executive order banning certain immigrants and refugees from entering the United States, the people of the UK have tried to reply in kind. A petition that seeks to prevent Trump from making an official state visit to the United Kingdom has gathered well over a million signatures in just 24 hours, and at the time of writing is about to break 1,400,000 signatures.
An e-petition with that many signatures will be considered for debate in the House of Commons, although it seems unlikely to force any decision in this instance. Prime Minister Theresa May was the one who extended the official invite to Donald Trump last week, and an about-face seems unlikely.
Notably, the petition doesn’t call for Trump to be banned entirely from the country; rather, it says that he should be allowed to enter as the head of the US Government, but not as head of state. That would mean no meeting the Queen, no formal state dinner, and a much more low-key affair than Trump would presumably be expecting. For a leader who puts so much value on status, recognition and public turnout, that would be a major blow.
The full text of the petition reads:
Donald Trump should be allowed to enter the UK in his capacity as head of the US Government, but he should not be invited to make an official State Visit because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen.
Donald Trump’s well documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by Her Majesty the Queen or the Prince of Wales. Therefore during the term of his presidency Donald Trump should not be invited to the United Kingdom for an official State Visit.
British citizens living both in and outside of the country are eligible to sign the petition, although there is no real enforcement of that rule — which is why the petition does not even oblige the government to debate the issue, but rather consider it for debate.
The Prime Minister’s office has already told UK news outlets that the invitation will not be rescinded, as a state visit remains “substantially in the national interest.” That said, the opposition party and individual Members of Parliament have stated that the visit should be delayed and reconsidered.
This isn’t the first time that Donald Trump’s visitation rights have been debated in Parliament. A petition floated during Trump’s campaign, which gathered over half a million signatures, called for Trump to be banned from the country completely. That petition was actually debated in Parliament, and although it didn’t pass a vote, MPs did describe Trump as “a racist demagogue, a buffoon and a wazzock.”